Over 50 guests and women leaders from various churches and organizations gathered together at St. Mark AME Church, for the New Jersey ACLC Women In Ministry Prayer Breakfast. Some were new guests from a neighboring Episcopal church, as well as old acquaintances from over the years. Rev. Bruce Grodner, who recently took over the position of ACLC National Executive Director, was also in attendance.
Dr. Delores Harrison (Riverside Church, NY, and NJ ACLC Co-Chair) offered the Opening Prayer followed by Welcoming Remarks by the host pastor, Rev. Dr. Kenneth Mitchem. Dr. Harrison returned to the podium to share a few words about the contributions African Americans have made in shaping and building the foundations of America’s economic prosperity, as well as its scientific and academic advancement. As a result of their contributions, African Americans have been blessed with wealth and knowledge. Dr. Harrison also remarked that it was Rev. Dr. Moon who brought the clergy together and taught them to listen to each other as children of God, and realize the universal truths that are found in the Torah, the Bible and the Koran.
After a delicious breakfast, a prayer for Unity was offered by Rev. Denneze Nelson (NJ Chairwoman for Women’s Federation for World Peace) who spoke briefly before she prayed. Rev. Nelson emphasized the importance of the role of women in promoting peaceful resolutions to conflict. She also mentioned she was planning a seminar to teach young women leadership skills. Women clergy who were interested in being a speaker were encourage to contact her.
Rev. Henry was called upon to offer a prayer for unity representing all the male clergy. He prayed for unity between men and women. He expressed gratitude for the sacred office that women are called to hold, as vessel for men and
women of God to come forth. His fervent and sincere prayer brought tears to the eyes of some of the women clergy.
Our keynote speaker, Minister Reiko Jenkins, was introduced by Archbishop Sulanch Lewis-Rose (ACLC National Co-President and National ACLC WIM Co-Chair), and then Ms. Micheline King (a Psalmist), sang two beautiful and soulful hymns. Minister Reiko Jenkins (National ACLC WIM Co-Chair) began by giving an overview of all the major events of National ACLC WIM in 2016 (weekly prayer conferences, 4-city tours, pow-wows with 39 Native American tribes ….) She also announced that key ACLC women clergy gave True Family Values PowerPoint presentations during the 4-city seminars. Minister Jenkins emphasized that all women clergy should study and learn how to give these presentations in their churches and communities. The presentations touch on the original plan of God. Why God’s Plan did not come to fruition, as well as the process to restore God centered families through the marriage blessing.
Minister Jenkins then invited up Bishop Lewis-Rose to share the theme and goals for 2017 rolled out by the Archbishop George A. Stallings, (the Co-Chairman for National ACLC.) The theme for 2017, “Women of God stay United in Spirit,” was based on Ephesians 4:3 “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Last year’s theme was “Women of God United In Heart.”
Archbishop Lewis-Rose read excerpts from Archbishop Stallings’ message to ACLC Women In Ministry. Then she began to preach. She said we are called to evangelize – spread the good news. We should educate people and encourage the marriage blessing globally. Then she read brief excerpts from True Families: Gateway to Heaven (by ACLC Founder Father Moon.) She went on to say that we should also strive to be brothers and sisters united in spirit.
Then Archbishop Lewis-Rose paused for a moment. She looked around room and then professed that she has her own ministry, Little Rock Ministries, in Queens. However, she takes time to be part of this ministry (ACLC), so that we can be united. When she first got involved (in ACLC) she asked God, “If this is the right way, show me a sign.” He did, and she has been blessed ever since. She then proclaimed “I have counted cost. I have made up my mind!”
There was a beautiful, warm spirit, and a deep sense of unity and comradery, that pervaded throughout the entire program. We often speak about women in leadership bringing about change and creating peace. After hearing Minister Jenkins and Archbishop Lewis-Rose speak, I now feel we can actually achieve it.
Contributed by: Rev. Kathaleen Sato / NJ ACLC